I have a bit of a problem with this picture. Why? Not because it's not a nice picture, but rather because it appears on the cover. Interestingly enough, in this entire 180-page publication there is NOT ONE establishing shot of the city core. NOT ONE! You can read this thing from cover to cover and still have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what the city of Victoria actually looks like!! Folks, that cannot be an accident.
Any other city guide would put a picture of the city on the cover. Nanaimo's guide does it. In fact, Nanaimo's guide contains no less than six "city" shots (lucky for Nanaimo it has that "Beacon" highrise condo building...it appears in every shot). Nanaimo shows itself off, Vancouver shows itself off...what's Victoria afraid of?
The closest we come to getting a picture of downtown Victoria are small images of it in a couple of Hyack Air ads. In one pic, downtown is obscured by text.
On page 169 there's an aerial showing the Empress and most of James Bay. There's also a tiny pic in the Bear Mountain section that shows James Bay in the far distance.
Is the purpose here to mislead people into thinking Victoria is a tiny town? Or a city without a real downtown? If so, why??
I have another pamphlet-style publication called "Victoria & Vancouver Island Visitors' Guide". The cover picture is a small boat docked in the harbour, with the Wharf Street parking lot and the Harbour Square building in the background. You'd think Victoria was Sidney to look at this picture. No suggestion of the true size of the place, the heritage buildings, the bustle, nothing. Just as in the other publication, nowhere in this one are any images provided to show us what the city of Victoria actually looks like.
The point I'm making here is, the official promotion of Victoria seems to be at odds with the real Victoria. This is especially strange when you consider the countless travel reviews in which travellers gush about the views of the city from their hotel rooms (or how miffed they were to not get a city view).
Consider these blurbs from the first publication:
While other cities overwhelm with endless freeways and looming skyscrapers, Victoria and its region have held the line; the city centre is eminently walkable, other town centres are readily reachable...
Remind me which other cities anywhere near Victoria's size "overwhelm with endless freeways and looming skyscrapers"? Are we suggesting those city slickers from Regina or Boise or Halifax or Spokane will be able to wind down in quiet little Victoria? Is this why we don't get a skyline shot or a good city aerial, because it would betray the guff we're selling? And why are Victoria's neighbourhoods described as "other town centres"?
You can live the urban life very well in downtown Victoria, but you can also find something in short supply in many other urban centres; ocean views and green spaces.
Is this why images of downtown are an endangered species? Because downtown Victoria is (perhaps more than any other city its size in Canada) such a stark contradiction to the "green" image they're selling?
...as Sidney-by-the-Sea has grown enormously, it's never lost its friendly, safe feel.
There's that bizarre obsession with selling public safety to tourists. Even in Sidney!! (for the record, Sidney has not "grown enormously" in 100 years)
The waterfront walkway stretches some 11 kilometres from Esquimalt's West Bay to Victoria's Ross Bay...
This is perhaps the most grotesque misrepresentation of reality in the entire booklet. I suppose it's better than admitting that a huge chunk of the waterfront in the core is absent of walking paths and otherwise inaccessible to the public.
I'd like to see these travel guides start selling the real Victoria. It blows my mind that they've now dropped the olde England guff pretty much altogether...and replaced it with this "such a small city, you won't believe how small" guff.